Curving from southeast to south and then again through southeast to east, the Down Track approaches the Mt. Jefferson inclined plane, but from the west side and clearly below the level of the track ascending the plane. Crossing under the Mt. Jefferson inclined plane at about its midpoint, the crossover (sometimes called the "Over/Under") allowed cars on the Down Track to continue beneath the Back Track, which ascends the plane.
Now accelerating, the car curves again to find its best route down the mountainside.
T. L. Mumford described the route in 1883: "... faster and faster, down through long stretches of shaded roadway, around wondrous curves, along giddy cliffs, under shadows of great ivy-grown crags, and still down, down, down, at a dizzy speed, and as if borne on the wings of the wind ... ."
Up ahead, we see the Five Mile Tree crossover. But now we are on the Down Track and, still accelerating, we charge through beneath the Back Track that we left less than an hour before.
The Home Stretch
Soon we start down the Home Stretch, a 2-1/2 mile straightaway, where we speed faster than 50 miles per hour. It is "exceedingly exhilarating, lined by foliage on both sides, delightfully green and fresh in summer, and beautifully tinted in autumn." We smell the odors from the summer heat when we cross a road, then the damp vegetation as we move through a field, and the cool shade as we move into the foliage-covered woods.
The fronts of all of the Switchback cars are covered with sheet metal below the level of our chests. It keeps flying debris from our legs and the wind from beneath ladies' skirts. We wonder why all the shields are dented. It is rumored that an occasional cow will wander onto the track along the Home Stretch, but we do not ask about it.
This stretch of track is not only the fastest but also the oldest and hence roughest. We bounce nearly out of our seats, or so we think as our behinds seem to want to leave their gravitational anchors.
Ending our burst of speed with a plunge along Mauch Chunk Creek, the Home Stretch straightaway crosses Lentz Trail, and our car slows and stops. Here, passengers looking for more can transfer to trolleys bound for the overlook and amusements of Flagstaff Park. Others can stop for a dip at the Switchback Swimming Pool and Picnic Park.
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